Fix leaks quickly to avoid wasting water

If your tap is dripping it can usually be fixed by changing the washers. If it doesn't, contact a licensed plumber. Leaking toilets and leaking pipes will generally need to be repaired by a licensed plumber too. More information about finding and fixing leaks

You can check if you have a leak by reading your meter before you go to sleep and comparing it to the reading first thing in the morning (make sure no water has been used at all overnight though). Watch the video below if you want to see how this is done. 

See how to read your meter 


Dripping taps

A few drips a minute might not seem like much, but once you multiply this figure by the number of hours in a day followed by the number of days in a year, it's easy to see how precious those few drips really are!

The amount of water lost by a dripping tap will vary depending on the leak but has the potential to waste up to 12,000 litres of quality drinking water a year. That's the entire amount available each year to many people around the world.

How to replace a tap washer

  1. Turn off all appliances that use water, then turn off the water to your house at your water meter outside. 
  2. Find the tap (inside our out) that's nearest to the water meter and turn it on, and then off again. This relieves the water pressure that may be there from turning supply off at the meter.
  3. Turn the dripping tap on all the way.
  4. Undo the tap buttons (if any) and remove the tap handles.
  5. Remove the flange - you might need a multigrip tool.
  6. Scrape away any old silicon around the tap fitting.
  7. Undo the spindle and make sure the body washer is intact. If it is not intact, it will need to be replaced.
  8. Remove the washer and replace it with a new one.
  9. Before replacing the rest of the tap, it's important to make sure that the leak has been fixed. Turn off the tap then turn the water mains tap back on at the meter. If the area is still leaking, the mains will need to be turned off again and the previous steps repeated. Alternatively, you might want to contact a licensed plumber.
  10. If there are no leaks, replace the flange firmly by hand as well as the tap handles and buttons - tighten these with a shifting spanner so they don't come loose.
  11. If the taps are in a wet area such as a shower, then seal the area around the spindle with silicon to prevent water from getting into the wall cavity - allow a couple of hours for it to dry before using the tap.

See how to change tap washer


Leaking toilets

A continuously running toilet can waste up to 96,000 litres of water a year, but toilet leaks often go unnoticed as the water trickles down the back of the bowl. 

Follow these simple steps to check if your toilet has a leak:

  1. Remove the lid of your toilet cistern.
  2. Place a few drops of food dye into the cistern.
  3. Do not flush your toilet for 10-15 minutes.
  4. If the dye has seeped down into the bowl when you return, then you know you have a leak.

Toilet leaks are often a result of the rubber valve in the cistern deteriorating. You can contact a licensed plumber to fix this for you. It is important to check your toilet for leaks every few months so you can be sure it is not wasting any water.

See how to check if your toilet is leaking


Discover ways to conserve water in other areas of your home: